Bespoked UK 2021: Clandestine Combe and Mid-Tail
Continuing our coverage of the 2021 Bespoked UK Handmade Bicycle Show, we check out two unique bikes from Bristol-based framebuilder Pi Manson of Clandestine. Check out his lovely new mid-tail cargo bike with a truss fork and vibrant Combe trail bike here…
Words and photos by Matty Waudby (@getwildmatty)
Next up from my reportage from the 2021 edition of Bespoked UK come two wonderful creations from Pi Manson, the Bristol-based framebuilder behind Clandestine (@clandestine.cc) who has a penchant for “utilitarianism, truth to materials, and remembering cycling’s history.” These two bikes are at either end of the spectrum in terms of their design, but both are created to be loaded up and put to use in the wilds of the world.
Pi’s creations have unique honest to them. In an exhibition hall filled with gleaming show bikes, the Clandestine stand was one of the few that showed utilitarian pragmatism. Pi doesn’t file his fillet brazed joints and uses simple powder coat paint to adorn his bikes. These bikes are designed to be ridden happily in the grime and muck of UK winters. As Pi says, “It’s just a bike, get over it!”
The blue mid-tail cargo bike at the centre of Pi’s stand is the kind of machine you could move house on if you so wished. The truss fork up front features a Clandestine touch in its detachable porteur rack, complete with a mounted dynamo light. The rear of the bike includes an integrated carrier with a subtle nod towards Terrible-1 Barcode frames from BMX (something that will become a running theme here!) in the triumvirate of wishbones. Both Pi and the bikes new owner come from BMX backgrounds, so a bit of mid-school nostalgia is fine by me! The rear non-drive-side strut is carefully curved around the disk brake caliper, keeping clean lines and providing plenty of access to the brake. Continuing the triple theme, there are three Anything cage mounts each with space for litre-sized Klean Kanteens with slim Drj0n cages. A tidy Mackworkshop custom frame bag rounds out the carrying capacity.
The crankset was like a shiny object to my magpie eyes and instantly reminded me of the Profile BMX three-piece cranks I’d longed for in my youth. Pi happily informed me that they used the same 48 spline, 19mm axle as Profile cranks and feature stunning copper end caps. The frameset is made from a mixture of Columbus Zona, Reynolds 853, and T45 tubing. The ever-reliable Rohloff manages shifting duties with three-inch Surly Knards, TRP hydro brakes, and a custom made fillet brazed stem to round out the build. This bike was ready to ride with the new owner taking ownership after the show and cruising off into the Yorkshire evening.
Clandestine Mid-Tail Build
- Frame Clandestine Mid-Tail
- Fork Custom truss fork
- Rims Velocity Dually
- Hubs Shimano dynamo (front) / Rohloff (rear)
- Tires Surly Knard 29 x 3.0
- Handlebars Salsa Woodchipper
- Headset Chris King Nothreadset
- Crankset Clandestine custom
- Pedals nimal plastic BMX pedals
- Brakes TRP Hylex
- Shifter(s) SRAM GX Eagle
- Saddle Brooks Cambium
- Seatpost Gusset
- Stem Clandestine
- Bags Mackworkshop
The other Clandestine bike featured here is something altogether rowdier, the Combe, is a 140mm/110mm trail bike built for Pi’s weekend trail rides. Don’t let that fool you though, this bike is designed to be loaded up and has space for both a large water bottle and partial frame bag from Wizard Works for overnighters and singletrack adventures. The 110mm of rear travel utilizes flex seat stays to smooth out the chatter of his preferred riding terrain, the ubiquitous UK “nadge.” The Clandestine definition of this term, for those unfamiliar, is steep, rooty, rocky, and slippy trails that are very technical and relatively slow. Delightful.
According to Pi, the Combe is designed to be “poppy and BMXey rather than a saggy enduro bike.” Everything about this bike screams practicality, from the easily serviceable frame bearings (all you need is a 5mm allen key), to the leverage ratio designed around smaller front chainrings, to the swept back Stooge moto bars. The colour-matched, custom-made super short fillet brazed stem with Clandestine copper badge is a final flourish to a bike that kept Pi busy with admirers all weekend.
Clandestine Combe Build
- Frame Clandestine Combe
- Fork Rockshox Pike 140mm
- Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary 27.5 x 2.6″ (front) / Hans Dampf 27.5 x 2.6″ (rear)
- Handlebars Stooge Moto
- Headset Hope
- Crankset Hope Evo with 28t chainring
- Cassette Shimano Deore 11-speed
- Derailleur Shimano XT
- Brakes Hope Tech 3
- Shifter(s) Shimano XT
- Saddle WTB
- Seatpost OneUp Dropper
- Stem Clandestine custom
- Frame bag Wizard Works partial frame bag
- Saddle bag Wizard Works Teeny Houdini
- Accessories Widefoot cargo cage with Klean Kanteen
Find out more about Pi Manson and Clandestine by following him on Instagram @clandestine.cc and via Clandestine.cc. Keep an eye out for more highlights and coverage from 2021’s Bespoked UK next weekk!
About Matty Waudby
Matty Waudby is a Yorkshire-based photographer and creator of things. He aims to create multidisciplinary imagery that documents human interaction with nature and to show that there is always more outside the front door. You can find more of his work at MattyWaudby.com or on Instagram @getwildmatty.
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